In addition to pain, there are several other symptoms that are characteristic to chilblains. We are referencing these symptoms as follows:
-The affected area usually takes a red and bluish color.
-There is inflammation.
-There is itching of the affected region.
-In addition, it is possible to have stinging.
But sometimes the chilblains can get complicated and can be lengthened over time. In these more severe cases, we may experience blisters and ulcers on the skin of the area where the problem is located. In the event of such complications, it is very important to pay attention to them because these injuries can become infected and cause further damage.
The chilblains usually last approximately 3 to 7 days, as long as some of the complications we mentioned above (blisters and ulcers on the skin or infection) have not appeared. If this occurs, they can last in time about three weeks.
Causes of the chilblains:
As mentioned above, the main cause of a chilblain is prolonged exposure of an area of our body to cold and subsequent abrupt change in temperature in that region of the body. But we must say that there are certain aspects that make a person more sensitive to suffering this type of injury.
These causes to which we are mentioning are, for example:
-When there is a precarious blood circulation. When this happens, the person is more vulnerable to sudden changes in temperature. We have previously mentioned that young women are more sensitive to chilblains, due to their hormonal changes and also because they usually have the lowest blood pressure.
-Another reason you may develop chilblains is continued alcohol intake. But people who smoke are also prone to this pathology. This is because these substances will inhibit or decrease blood supply. El tobacco, for example, produces a vasoconstriction (contraction) effect on blood vessels.
-Also, the fact that many of us lead a sedentary life, it does not improve our blood circulation, but rather causes its stagnation. That’s why it’s so important to do some physical exercise. With physical exercise we will avoid sedentary lifestyle and we will also improve our blood circulation.
-And, although it seems very obvious, plastic shoes or not wearing the right clothes to be able to withstand the low temperatures to which we are going to expose, can also favor the chilblains.
TREATMENT OF CHILBLAINS
Initially, we will try to keep the injured areas, which are usually hands and feet, always dry and warm. For this it is advisable to wear winter gloves and cotton socks, since cotton is a breathable fabric that does not retain moisture from our feet. It is also important to avoid aggressive soaps and also keep our hands and feet always well hydrated with vegetable oils and butters that facilitate blood micro-circulation.
Physical exercise and diet are very important. As the maxim says, “may your food be your medicine.” Eating a healthy diet that activates our circulation will be the first step to implement.
Through the diet it is possible to promote blood circulation. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, proper blood circulation depends on “chi” or spleen and liver energy. There has to be enough spleen energy for blood to circulate well through the blood vessels, and in turn, if there is accumulated toxicity (removing it is a liver task), the veins may lose elasticity.
Taking care of the lymphatic system is also essential to prevent poor circulation, as lymph collects much of the waste circulating in the blood; then this fluid is transported back into the bloodstream. This is an essential immune process.
Food is decisive. It is advisable to avoid refined sugars and flours, toxic ones, moisturize well and avoid drinks with gas. Hot foods, according to Eastern medicine, such as meat, alcohol or coffee, also promote clogging.
We propose a series of foods rich in substances that will improve your blood circulation.
-It is important to include in the diet species such as cayenne, cinnamon or pepper. Cooking with these seasonings helps improve circulation, as they are vasodilator foods. Garlic is a natural anticoagulant that helps blood circulate better in vessels. Along with the onion, it stimulates blood circulation and decreases blood viscosity.
The “Equisetum arvense” plant improves the condition of the vessels. It is rich in silicon, necessary for collagen formation and, therefore, for the maintenance of vascular walls. Each day you can take two cups in infusion, better with the ground plant. Or toast a little and add it to salads and vegetable creams.
Ginger is known to fluidify blood. Frequent and regular consumption of ginger helps mobilize energy and activates blood circulation by fluidizing it.
Consuming buckwheat reinforces the action of vitamin C. This pseudo-cereal is rich in a flavonoid that acts in synergy with vitamin C protecting the wall of vessels and capillaries. Its usual consumption thus contributes to the protection of blood vessels.
Vitamin C of lemon is essential, because it is involved in the formation of collagen and elastin, proteins that influence the capillary wall and improve its elasticity. Drinking the juice of a lemon in a glass of water in the morning is an ancient remedy to solve a lot of problems, from poor circulation to anemia and overweight.
Vitamin C-rich foods protect and strengthen blood capillaries by also preventing blood clots. Some foods rich in this vitamin that we can propose are kiwi, orange, lemon, strawberries, mango, pumpkin, pepper or broccoli. And vitamin E-rich foods widen the capillaries and dilate them. We find them in: vegetable oils, almonds, nuts, as well as tomatoes, avocados, broccoli or spinach.
Vitamin K-rich foods are vital for blood clotting, as significant bleeding may result in internal bleeding if a major deficiency occurs. In addition, this vitamin prevents arterial calcification, the onset of varicose veins and the development of other diseases related to circulatory problems. Olive oil is one of the most common foods with a high amount of vitamin K, but we can also find it in soybean oil, lettuce or spinach. In general, vitamin K is found in most green leafy vegetables.
But above all, foods that contain vitamin B3, called niacin. This vitamin has been shown to strengthen blood vessels and increase blood flow so it reaches the limbs without problem. In addition, it involves the process of forming blood cells and prevents hardening of the arteries. We can find it in many types of foods: nuts, sunflower seeds, beetroot or lentils, among others.
Nuts generally have vitamins A, B, C and E that exert a protective vessel action, as well as providing antioxidants.
As we always say, it is much better to make sure you eat quality organic food that contains all the necessary vitamins and nutrients than to acquire synthetic vitamin complexes that not only will not exert the same benefit, but in many cases will be an overload for our emunctories organs that will have to get rid of surpluses. Many vitamins, such as vitamin D from the sun or niacin itself, are synthesized by our body from the sun or from food. Its inclusion, therefore, in this sort of vitamin complexes is always a controversial issue that, we personally believe, is counterproductive.
A very different matter is that we provide ourselves with essential fatty acids * that are difficult to obtain from the diet and that our body cannot synthesize by itself.
* Essential fatty acids are those fatty acids that the body cannot synthesize, so they have to be obtained through the diet. There are two families of essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6, which are also called polyunsaturated fatty acids. Most of these fatty acids come from fatty fish and plants.
But if dietary prevention is not enough to prevent and treat chilblains, then we should treat them internally. It is always possible to go to the doctor or podiatrist, and, in any case, it is also possible to use the natural herbalist at our fingertips.
If we want to improve our circulation with herbal remedies, there are a lot of them that we use and that are also very effective:
RED VINE LEAF INFUSIONS
Although it is also possible to make a decoction of red vine leaves and apply it topically, the red vine is also a great internal remedy. If you take it as a tisana internally the red vine will improve circulation, which is finally the problem that causes the chilblains.
1 teaspoon red vine leaves (5 g)
1 cup water (250 ml)
Preparation: We will heat the water and, when it comes to boil, we will add the teaspoon of red vine leaves. We let the decoction take place for 5 minutes and allow another ten to rest. After the indicated time, we filter the infusion and can take it or apply it topically for 5 minutes.
INFUSIONS OF EQUISETUM ARVENSE PLANT, GINGKO BILOBA, etc…
As with the red vine, we can prepare a tisana of these herbs that activate blood circulation, and take it several times a day in order to improve our circulation.
And we can also perform decoctions of some other plants in order to give us baths in the area to be treated. Topical application of these decoctions is also an effective remedy.
In addition to being useful in the treatment of external wounds, celery is one of the best home remedies for chilblains. Externally used minimizes swelling and stimulates circulation by providing rapid relief.
1 cup celery (250 g)
4 cups water (1 liter)
Preparation: For each liter of water, we will put 250 g of celery. We will bring the water to the boil with the celery and let it boil for an hour.
With the resulting solution we will take baths in the affected areas. Once the decoction is applied, we will leave it on for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the affected area will have to dry and protect the affected area from the air. If you do it every day, in a few days the chilblains will be gone.
Calendula is a great ally in the treatment of chilblains. Applied in the form of decoction, serum or ointment is a very effective remedy to treat them.
3 tablespoons dried calendula (30 g)
4 cups water (1 liter)
Preparation: Heat the water and, when it boils, add the three tablespoons of the calendula plant. We allow decoction to take place for 10 minutes. Once this time has passed, we remove from the fire.
We add water in a tub and then the resulting infusion. We can give ourselves small baths in the parts affected by the chilblains twice a day.
Rosemary oil massages are relaxing, anti-inflammatory and activate blood microcirculation. For this reason, many categorize them as one of the most effective home remedies to treat chilblains. While oil can be purchased from herbal shops, it can also be made at home.
1 handful rosemary
2 cups oil (500 ml)
Preparation: In a glass bowl, we will mix a handful of rosemary with three cups of cooking oil. Cover and let stand for a few days, shaking it daily. It is a quick way to prepare a rosemary oleate, as an herb that is easy to transmit its qualities to a quality vegetable oil.
After a few days, we’ll strain it in a glass jar. After giving us a hot bath, we’ll use some of our oleate to massage our feet.
Hot method: It is possible to put the oil and the rosemary to heat within a minimum temperature and leave it for a couple of hours without the oil ever reaching a temperature above 70 degrees. It is a faster method to get the properties of the rosemary plant transmitted to the carrier oil.
This can be done also very easily by adding a few drops of rosemary essential oil to a carrier vegetable oil. It is what is known as rosemary essential oil serum.
SERUM WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
In a tablespoon of carrier vegetable oil (jojoba, apricot, almonds) we will dilute two drops of the following essential oils:
Niaouli (2 drops), which is disinfectant (replaceable by camphor or ravintsara)
Helichrysum (2 drops), anti-inflammatory
Cypress (2 drops), activates blood microcirculation
With the oil we will rub the injured areas. The combination of these oils will make the chilblains disappear. It is not a good idea to try to apply EO directly to the skin without diluting them in a vegetable carrier oil because some essential oils are dermo caustic.
One of the complications of the chilblains is the appearance of blisters and ulcers on the skin and therefore you may run the risk of infection in them. In the event of this happening, we can use a honey and calendula-based ointment to disinfect them and speed up their healing. There is no better remedy against ulcers and burns than to be applied topically a little honey that will also prevent infection.
Another interesting proposal to alleviate the problem is to perform gentle massages on the feet and legs with an essential oil serum like the one mentioned above. In this way it is possible to activate circulation, minimize the problem, and avoid the appearance of more complications.
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